4th Floor,
Commerce Building, cnr Union and Clyde Streets,
University of Otago,
Dunedin 9054, New Zealand


Tel 64 3 479 8520
Fax 64 3 479 9034

Dr Tara Duncan

Office - Commerce 4.50
Tel 64 3 479 3486
Email tara.duncan@otago.ac.nz


Tara’s academic background is in social and cultural geography. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Wales, Lampeter in 1993, Tara worked in the hotel industry for a year before moving to London to work as a personal assistant for a number of years.  In 1997, she decided to ‘do’ a ski season and moved to the internationally recognised resort of Whistler, British Columbia, in western Canada.  Three years later, after working as Supervisor in Employee Experience (HR) at Whistler Blackcomb, she returned to the UK to undertake her MSc (in Modernity Space and Place) and then her PhD in the Department of Geography at UCL.

Prior to joining the Department of Tourism at the University of Otago in 2007, Tara worked for the Royal Geographical Society with IBG (RGS-IBG) in London as the Managing Editor of their three academic journals.  She has also held a temporary lecturer post in the Department of Geography at Durham University and was the ITCA (International Travel Catering Association) Research Officer in the School of Business at the University of Surrey between January and October 2005.

Tara was elected as a member of the ATLAS (Association for Tourism and Leisure Education) Board in 2008 and holds the role of Special Interest Group Evaluator.  She is also on the PIHMS (Pacific International Hotel Management School) Industry Advisory Board. Within the University, Tara sits on the UNICOL Advisory Council and is a committee member of the Staff Women’s Caucus.

Research Interests

Tara’s main research interests continue to focus on young budget travellers (the Gap Year, OE, ‘Big Trip’ and backpacking for instance) and current debates on (im)mobility. She is also interested in exploring mobile methodologies and  continues her geographical focus with research interests in the everyday spaces and practices of tourism, hospitality and leisure.

Tara has recently received a grant to undertake a staff exchange to Högskolan Dalarna in Sweden. During her time in Sweden she will be collaborating with Dr Scott Cohen from Bournemouth University and Maria Thilemark from Dalarna on their edited book ‘Lifestyle Mobilities’, part of a series being published through the Geography of Leisure and Tourism Research Group of the RGS-IBG. Tara has also recently received another grant from the Matariki Network of Universities to undertake preliminary collaborative exploration with Dr Rachel Colls (Geography) at Durham University in the UK. She was also part of multi-disciplinary team that received a BRCSS (Building Research Capability in the Social Sciences) grant in 2010.  The project ‘Transitions, Connections and Mobilities: Collaborative Studies of People on the Move’ culminated in a 2 day Symposium in November 2010 and a second symposium (‘Mobilities and Neighbourhoods’) was held at Massey University in July 2011.  A wiki about the project can be found at https://mobilities.wiki.otago.ac.nz/Main_Page.

Tara is also working on her investigation of the role of women in the growth of the Central Otago Wine Region and hopes to disseminate her findings to the local community as well as through academic channels.

Selected Recent Publications

Cohen, S., Duncan, T., & Thulemark, M. (forthcoming: 2013). Lifestyle Mobilities: The crossroads of travel, leisure and migration. Mobilities.

Duncan, T., Scott., & Thulemark, M (forthcoming) (Eds.). Lifestyle Mobilities: Intersections of Travel, Leisure and Migration. Ashgate, ISBN: 978-1-4094-5371-0. 

Duncan, T., Scott, D. G., & Baum, T. (2013). The mobilities of hospitality work: An exploring of issues and debates. Annals of Tourism Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2012.10.004

Duncan, T. (Dec 2011) ‘The mobilities turn and the geography of tourism’ in Wilson, J. (ed.) New Perspectives in Tourism Geographies: Space, Place and Tourism, London: Routledge. Accepted (please see page 11 of CV). Word Count: 5,600.

Duncan, T.; Kline, C. and Schneider, P. (2010), ‘Special Issue on Graduate Student Research: Guest Editors’ Introduction’, Annals of Leisure Research, 1 & 2, pp. 1-4.

Duncan, T. (2009) ‘Transient Workers in Queenstown and Whistler: Case Study 9.1’ in Higham, J. and Hinch, T. (eds.) Sport and Tourism: Globalisation, mobility and identity, Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, pp. 173-174.

Duncan, T. (2008) ‘The Internationalisation of Tourism Labour Markets: Working and Playing in a Ski Resort’ in Hall, C. M. and Coles, T. (eds.) International Business and Tourism: Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp 181-194.

Duncan, T. (2005), ‘Current Issues in the Global Hospitality Industry’, Tourism and Hospitality Research: The Surrey Quarterly Review, 5 (4), 359-366.

Business Reports

Blake, L. and Duncan, T. (2010), ‘The Hotel Experience: Customer Loyalty and Hotel Brands’, Report for Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Dunedin: School of Business.

King, A.; Duncan, T.; McGregor, G. (2010), Burton New Zealand Open 2010: Economic Impact Study, Dunedin, School of Business.

Alexander, R.; Duncan, T. and McGregor, G. (2008), Burton New Zealand Open 2008: Economic Impact Study, Dunedin, School of Business.

PhD and Masters Supervision

PhD   Andrea Farminer: The Economic and Social Value of Rivers. 2010 -
PhD   Nancy Earth: The Role of Female Japanese Potters in Japanese Society. 2010 -
PhD   Supattra Sroypetch: Impacts of Backpacker Tourism on the Host Community. 2010 -
PhD   Fateme Etemaddar: The Iranian Diaspora in New Zealand: Challenging Diaspora Tourism. 2009 -
PhD   Adam Doering: An Ethnography of Mobility, Place & Transnational becoming in Rural Japan. 2009 -
PhD   Gunn Kro Kidd: Social Entrepreneurship and the Role of Women. 2009 -
PhD   Ali Bavik: Organisational Culture in the New Zealand Hotel Industry. 2008 -
PhD   Margie Campbell-Price (part-time): Overseas Secondary School Trips. 2006 –
PhD   Melissa Wan Hassan: Halal Food and the New Zealand Hospitality Industry. 2003-2008. Graduated 2009.

Masters Kirsten Bamford: Perspectives on Tourism and Hospitality Education in New Zealand. 2011 -
Masters  Jane Godfey: The Motivations and Experiences of Backpackers Travelling to New Zealand (now PhD candidate (with scholarship) at University of Technology, Sydney) 2010-2011. Awarded with Credit 2011.
Masters Hebe Alex Morales: Crime and Tourism in New Zealand. 2009-2011. Submitted 30 June 2011.
Masters Tupe Tagamoa-Isara: Tourism Recovery after the 20090 Tsunami in Samoa. 2009 -2010. Awarded with Distinction.



University of Otago Department of Tourism